When It’s Wise To Walk Your Wheels

A variety of signage, ranging from polite reminders to harsh prescriptions.

Their are times when segments of our multi-use trails get quite busy and it’s wise to walk your wheels. There are also some places where wheels are not to be ridden at any time, for the safety of people of all ages, all abilities.

While the current sign in the Tunnel (upper left, above) suggests you can ride at walking speed, the Tunnel Committee and Cycling Advisory Committee agreed over a year ago that cycling in the tunnel would be restricted for a number of reasons:

  • People walking, especially families with young children, are distracted by the lights, paying attention to the tunnel walls, taking care to avoid tripping on the dark curb, and quite often, looking up!
  • Even when riding a bike at walking speed, maneuverability in the tunnel is quite limited; brushing a tire against the dark curb or a handlebar against the wall could easily lead to a fall and injury – for you and others.
  • The Tunnel is often busy and best enjoyed at a slow walk.

So please, when visiting the Tunnel, “Walk your Wheels”. That includes your bike, your unicycle, your scooter, and your skateboard.

There are a few other places where riding a bicycle is expressly prohibited as well, even if not signed. These include the sidewalks along King Street downtown, the Brock Trail walk around Blockhouse Island, and the Brock Trail boardwalk along the River in Hardy Park.

Visiting Downtown Brockville on an “open streets” day when King Street is blocked to vehicles? Walk your Wheels – riding through a crowd of meandering families begs calamity.

At all other times on the Brock Trail, generally accepted trail etiquette applies:

  • Those walking have the right-of-way
  • When on wheels, yield to those walking
  • Keep to the right so others can pass; yes, that includes when walking your dog
  • When walking your dog, shorten the leash when passing or being passed
  • When riding your bike, unicycle, scooter, blades or skateboard, ding your bell or call out to those you’re about to pass, e.g. “Passing on your left!”
  • when riding, keep speed slow – below 20 km/h, and slower when nearing people walking.

Please also note that none of the restrictions on wheels apply to those using mobility assistance devices.

Let’s act together to make sure our shared pathways remain attractive, comfortable and safe for those of all ages and all abilities.

Maps For An Active Brockville

Heading out in Brockville and looking for a heritage walking tour, bike parking locations, park facilities or other features of our fine town? Well, the City’s growing collection of online maps may be just the thing you need.

Check out www.Brockville.com/maps for the full collection, in which you find useful gems like:

  • Outdoor Brockville – a photo and map tour that shows all of the spectacular green spaces accessible to everyone.
  • Heritage Tour – showing the locations and content of the over 50 heritage plaques around town.
  • City Explore – look for streets, addresses, and points of interest, with some aerial views.
  • Cycle Brockville – provides a map of the Brock Trail as well as all the bike parking locations in the downtown/waterfront area.
  • Downtown Brockville – a directory and locator map for the downtown area.

And lots more, so go and explore!

 

Yet More MD Support For Bike Lanes

Parking protected bike lane on Sherbrook in Winnipeg

A new group, Doctors for Safe Cycling is adding their voice through a website and Facebook page, to the call for streets to be safe for all ages, all abilities. They join the Canadian Medical Association, long an advocate for active transportation (policy paper, 2009, pdf), and the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment.

As Doctors for Safe Cycling point out in this recent article in the Toronto Star, “Cycling is very effective in promoting good physical and mental health, and it’s infrastructure like protected lanes that makes widespread bike use possible.” 

StatsCan reports that fully 41% of Canadians over the age of 12 are at least occasional cyclists now, and cites the evidence that, “The health benefits of physical activity, including cycling, are widely recognized. In an era when nearly a third of children and youth and just under two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, cycling for leisure or transport is a valuable form of exercise. Cycling is also good for the environment ― commuting by bicycle helps to alleviate road congestion and noise pollution and reduces emissions.”

It’s time for Brockville to join the 21st century and work to become bicycle friendly. There will always be naysayers and NIMBYs who fight to keep streets unsafe, children at risk and property values depressed, but it’s time to move ahead and create a better Brockville.

Bike Parking At Rib Fest And The Rails To Trails Festival

Bike parking area being set up for the Rails To Trails Festival.

Heading to Brockville’s waterfront this weekend? How about using your bike? Here’s how to do that. Whether you’re starting from in town or driving in with bikes and parking away from the downtown area, follow the Brock Trail (map here) right to the heart of the events. The Brock Trail provides an off-road family-friendly route.

After crossing the Tom Dailey Bridge behind the Mill Restaurant, in addition to all the bike racks and rings throughout the downtown area, you’ll find some large bike racks at the main Water Street entrance to Rib Fest, to which you can lock your bike.

Alternately, continue along Water Street to the Water Street parking lot where you’ll find bicycle parking under the big tent in the picture above. The tent will be staffed by volunteers from 8 to 8 on Saturday, and from 10 to 5 on Sunday, providing a supervised parking area.

Updated Brock Trail Map

Click to see full size, for downloading & printing.

Click on the map shown above to see a larger size picture which you can download and use. The map has been updated to show recently completed new segments as well as those currently under construction and soon to be finished, for example, the “401 bypass” route along central Ormond and Parkedale. Distances between waypoints, to the nearest 5 m, have also been added.

NYC Adds To Cycling Safety Research

 

Just published by New York City’s Department of Transportation is a comprehensive study and analysis of 20 years worth of cycling data. Adding to and reinforcing similar studies in other large North American cities, this study confirms both the “safety in numbers” effect as well as the risk reductions of well-designed cycling infrastructure.

The telling metric is “KSI” – the number of cyclists killed or severely injured in traffic. In a nutshell, cycling numbers grew by 162% while KSI dropped by nearly half. Said another way, the rate of KSI/100 million trips dropped from 1,072 to 292, a decline of 73%. Notably, only 11% of KSI occur on roads with cycling facilities.

The lessons learned in NYC add to the body of evidence showing that:

  • the implementation of cycling facilities, especially protected facilities, dramatically reduces risks to those cycling.
  • the the reduction of risk is both real and, more importantly, perceived, which in turn encourages large growth in cycling from the “interested but concerned” cohort.
  • Higher numbers of people on bicycles induces a “safety in numbers” effect due to aggregate visibility and overall traffic calming.

Small cities simply don’t have the frequency of incidents and populations to do meaningful studies like this. Yet, we can learn from these lessons shown repeatedly in larger centres.

See newsletter article here.
See the study here.

Road Safety: Water St Sharrows

Artwork by Bikeyface, www.bikeyface.com 

Still puzzled by the sharrows on Water Street in downtown Brockville?
The 200m short stretch between Home and Broad is narrow, signed at a max of 40 km/h, and part of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail through town. The application of sharrows on the short stretch is a guide to those driving and cycling, about how to share the road safely and responsibly.

The illustration above, copyright and courtesy  of Bikeyface,  shows quite nicely what sharrows are all about. They are generally described in traffic manuals and consumer guides as a shared lane marking that:

  • Indicates that, as in the illustration above, the lane is too narrow to be shared side-by-side and single file is appropriate.
  • Reminds those driving that bicycles are vehicles on the road and entitled to use the whole lane when conditions warrant.
  • Reminds those cycling that on a narrow road, the safest position is to “take the lane”.

Those driving also need to keep in mind that when passing someone on a bike, a minimum of 1 m clearance is stipulated in the Highway Traffic Act. That means passing using the oncoming lane, only if it’s clear.

That very short stretch of Water Street has blind corners at Home, St. Andrew, Apple and Broad streets. Be a good neighbour, slow down and share the road responsibly.

Reference: MTO Drivers Handbook